How to rectify waterlogged lawns
Rain, rain and yet more rain - that's exactly what many parts of Scotland have been putting up with recently and unfortunately there's only more to look forward to over the next few weeks. Sadly, one of the most common problems caused by excess rain is waterlogged lawns, the effects of which can be devastating for your garden.
Effects of waterlogging
Although grass can cope with wet conditions better in winter than summer, water sitting on the surface of a lawn will always cause problems at all times of the year. Compaction stifles airflow and water flow to the roots of the grass which ultimately drowns and kills the plant, leaving turf yellow and patchy.
Water-logging also increases the rate of growth of unwanted plants like lichens and liverwort. Not only do they look unpleasant, but these plants can eventually cover wide areas of the lawn, stifle grass growth and kill the turf. It is therefore of utmost importance that you deal with a waterlogged lawn as soon as possible.
Three-step law reparation
1. Let the lawn drain
Avoid walking on it or treating it in any way until most of the water has finally drained - smaller patches can be swept towards areas of the garden that drain more easily. If draining only takes a couple of days, your turf is repairable. Grass that has been waterlogged for over a week is likely a lost cause and will need to be replaced or reseeded.
2. Aerate roots
This can either be done with a manual hollow tine aerator which makes small holes all over the garden, or a powered hollow tine aerator which will leave plugs of soil on the surface - be sure to remove them. Holes can then be filled with topdressing soil or sand to improve future drainage.
3. Feed it
As winter turns to spring and temperatures begin to warm up, you should begin to feed the lawn with spring fertiliser. As it grows, you'll be able to pinpoint areas where the turf has been killed and you can begin to reseed or replace them.
Preventing future flood damage
If you live in an area of Scotland susceptible to heavy rainfall, you absolutely must aerate your lawn and use a good quality topdressing to minimise flooding. If the lawn is laid upon heavy clay soil, you should seriously consider replacing it rather than dealing with inevitable flooding every year.
If you do choose to replace it, lay new turf on generous amounts of sand and loam topsoil. You can also help to improve a lawn's chances of surviving in floods by feeding it in spring and autumn, either side of the rainy winter season.
If water-logging and flooding are a persistent problem for your lawn, you may benefit from specialist advice. We recommend reading Modern Lawn Care by David Hedges-Gower which gives fantastic information for all lawn types - it might just have the details you need to keep your lawn in good condition all year round.
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